Tuesday, March 30, 2010

calf photo shoot

Heavy blue-gray rainclouds dulled the sunlight just enough for a reasonably good picture-taking day. The clouds were a bit choppy, with stretches of blue sky between, so a few photos turned out to be more shadowy than others, but overall I was happy with the way it softened the calves' fur and made them look like big, friendly stuffed animals! I don't know how happy my younger sisters, Hannah and Amy, were to be dragged out into ice-shard rain blown in on a driving wind, though.

Several of this year's 12 calves are represented in the following pictures, which I edited slightly to make the most of the colors. Twelve is about an average year's crop of calves, and we would actually have raised more but four died early on (three to abortion and one was a very weak twin).

The calf above with the #12 tag is our youngest. Their white fur looks so clean.

I love the following picture. The cow and calf seem to rhyme. Despite looking so much alike, however, that cow isn't the calf's mother!

spring is here!

I hope so, that is. The American Goldfinches outside our dining room window seem to think so, anyway! This male is almost finished changing his feathers from winter's dull yellow-gray to summer's impressive corn-on-the-cob coloring.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

macro mania

A day full of rainshowers gave me a fantastic opportunity to take more macro pictures. I'm fairly new to this "genre" of photography, so I was excited about the chance to practice. The following photos are all-original, un-manipulated photos. At the bottom of the post I've placed a link to see more photos.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

spontaneous morning photo shoot

It was exactly 7:15 AM when my sister and I headed out to feed the sheep and their three new lambs this morning. Speed was critical; we needed to be done quickly enough to allow time to eat breakfast, change, and gather up notebooks and pencils before leaving for a scheduled annual test at 8:15. There was a silver frost covering the ground and the sun rose into a shrouding haze of clouds.

The lighting couldn't have been better for a photo shoot, if I could find something to photograph.

I was about to pull on my rubber boots on the back porch when I saw a pair of Mallards gliding across the calm, metallic-golden surface of our pond. Perfect.

Five seconds of debate followed. Should I just continue with my morning and arrive at the test calm and unhurried ... or take advantage of the perfect lighting and impeccable subject matter?

On impulse, I dashed back inside for the camera and then hurtled myself into a hollow corner of the lawn sheltered slightly by pine trees--complete with an ideal angle of the shimmering pond. After adjusting the camera settings to fit the conditions, I snapped away about 150 pictures in 10 minutes. The ducks were dark silhouettes against the water, bathing and swimming and diving for food. I could hardly wait to sort through the photos and pick out the best ones so I could show them to you!

This one was an attempt to balance the duck with the reed in the right side of the picture. But the duck's stance, facing away from the reed, didn't work the way I wanted it to in this particular technique. So I tried again:
The duck's position seems a little easier to balance properly in this one because the head faces toward the reed. Unfortunately my precarious position forced me to photograph through grass blades which, though blurred, still seem to distract from the picture. On the bright side, however, they add a level of intimacy to the photo by giving you the feeling you're down on the duck's level--almost like you're spying on it.

 << This is one of my favorites.

 The spread wings, the golden water, and the other duck providing the balance makes for an interesting photo. I also have a partiality to the pinkish sunlight on the grassy hill behind.

I've decided to divide these and a few others between my "Scenes" and "Birds" photo galleries, since some of them speak more of the landscape than the actual Mallards.

Saturday, March 20, 2010



It's been a weird day from the photography side of things. The sun is shining, it's 70 degrees and I have been aching to go out and get some really amazing, drop-dead-gorgeous pictures. (This seems to happen to me frequently. Can anyone relate to this?)

So the problem is, photography just doesn't work as well in the brilliant sunlight. The pictures rarely turn out as nicely as in softer lights like overcast days, dawn, and dusk. By the time the lighting has improved, my motivation is usually depleted.

Today, my photo-thirst was sidetracked (thankfully... or I might have done something crazy) by the birth of twin lambs on our place. I was able to get some pictures of the new lambs, but that wasn't wholly satisfying for some reason. I still have an ache to go take some really, really good pictures.

Of what? I don't know yet. I will when I see them...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

the eye of the beholder

We've all heard that saying, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." We apply it to a lot of things, but I find it particularly fitting for photography. How many times have you seen a gorgeous landscape photo and thought, Hey, I could do that, and then you went out and tried and somehow the picture just didn't look as good?

That's happened to me a lot of times. I think it's happened to all of us.

So how do those people get those perfect pictures with the flawless lighting and excellent composition? What rules are they following that make their pictures so alluring?

At least in my experience, I've found the answer to be simple: None.

It's called the photographic eye--the ability to see a picture in the making before you even pull out your camera, while others walk right by without noticing. You see how it's put together and how it will work. Sometimes there are definable rules it follows (the rule of thirds, for example) but more often than not, it just draws you in . . . and you can't really explain why.

The photographic eye is a gift, but that doesn't mean it allows someone to take dazzling pictures with total ease. Even the best photographers may take hundreds of pictures in a single shoot and only end up getting one or two decent ones. Over my weekend in California, I took more than 550 pictures; I chose only half a dozen that were reasonably good to post in my photo gallery. And sometimes to get those half-dozen good pictures you have to be willing to get dirty: I've done portrait shoots that had me lying flat out in wet grass and mud, rolling this way or that to get a better angle or light.

It's all part of the wonder of photography. I love it, and I always will.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

trip to california

It turned out to be a blessing in disguise to take my smaller camera with me to California instead of my SLR. Since I don't have a macro lens for my SLR, it's virtually impossible for me to get detailed closeup photos. But using the macro setting on my Canon PowerShot A610 allowed me to get some stunning photos of dewy flowers! A few are posted here. Check out the "Plants" section of my photo gallery to see more!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

a photo-maniac's dilemma

Okay, so I'm heading to California for the weekend to visit a college in Redding. I've never been to California and even if I had, my mind would just as automatically go to taking pictures. Which presents a dilemma.

Do I take my SLR . . . or my little digital Canon?

My mind flies over every pro and every con. If I take the SLR, I get better pictures. If I take the Canon, I have more packing space. If I take the SLR, I can zoom in further. If I take the Canon, I don't have to carry around twenty pounds of equipment. If I take the SLR, there's always the possibility of it getting stolen. If I take the Canon, the pictures look cheaper, but if I lost it I would have my SLR to come home to, which I use the most anyway. But if that happened I wouldn't have a little Canon to be my guinea pig next time I have the dilemma before me.


So I finally decided to take the Canon. Maybe it's paranoid of me, but I'll be staying in a hotel room the first night and college dorms after that. . . . The SLR would be more satisfying in the way of photography, but at least I have 100% assurance of having it ready to satisfy me in photography for a long time in the future.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

learning to blog!

I'm finally beginning to catch on to all the ins and outs of blogging, I think. So far I've gotten my gallery of plant photos off to a good start and I'll begin working on my other sections as soon as possible. It would help if I had high-speed internet, but since I don't and probably won't have that any time in the near future, I'm making due with what dial-up can offer.

It looks like spring might be gradually moving in! That means there will be lots of opportunities for more plant photos soon to add to my plant gallery. Fruit tree blossoms, flower gardens and fresh green grass are all just around the corner, and I'll have my camera at the ready!

The plant gallery won't be the only one getting new photos though. The wild birds I enjoy feeding are already beginning to change from their dull winter plumage into bright breeding feathers, particularly the American Goldfinch. Male goldfinches will soon be the vivid yellow of ripe corn, making for excellent photography--if I can get close enough! The new calves and lambs on my farm are also due at any time, so look for updates to the animal gallery as well.

Monday, March 1, 2010

meet hallie jo

Hi, my name is Hallie Jo and I live in a little town called Goldendale. I've been an amateur photographer for five years and enjoy capturing images that speak of God's creation, whether it be landscapes, animals, or closeups. I started out with a digital Canon A610 camera and later upgraded to a Nikon D40 SLR. It's been a joy and a challenge to improve my photographic eye over the years. I hope all who view this site enjoy the pictures they see!


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